Monday, December 30, 2019

How To Wear Bohemian: A Boho Starter Pack Quide

I've had this post saved for a while and since I've been really boring about doing anything aside from outfit blurbs, I thought I'd finally get my stuff together and do a really post. I've had a few people ask over the years about "how do I boho?" and I've written a few reddit posts about it. I want to say first off that EVERYONE can boho. It doesn't matter your sex, gender, weight, height, species, whatever, you too can boho! I've always felt it was sad that people feel they can't dress in a style they enjoy because big boobs get in the way, or they're too short, or they're too heavy or they're not female presenting enough, especially since this style  really works for everyone.  I wanted to do this post as a quick guideline to dressing in a bohemian style from a easy three base outfits with thing you probably already have in your closet, thanks to the trends of the past few years.

A starter note: Style is something you have work at. It's like a muscle or any other skill, you have to put time into it - there's no way around it.  In this case, I've laid out some templates to start but you will also have to figure out how to apply this to your wardrobe and where the gaps lay for you.  The great thing is, it's a fun creative exercise and if you keep working at it, you'll get better. (You also don't have to boho if you don't want to but that's what this guide is about.)

So here we go, into the first step, your boho starter pack!  (I am sorry, these are indoor potato pics. Our light this time of year doesn't exist.)

Base Outfit One

Starter Boho Pack:

1 loose tunic, but make sure it fits properly through the shoulders so it is not overwhelming. (Unless you like that but this is more of a starter, beginner boho pack. Advance boho goes for it with the proportions and shapes. If you have a large chest and you're yelling at me through your computer - there's tricks! the type of bra you wear makes all of the difference here in how the tunic will hang. If you wear a big old padded bra ala 2002, it's boob tent city. Wearing either a sports bra, a minimizing bra or a bra that's not padded but allows for the natural shape of the breast, aka not a uniboob, will make all of the difference here.)

1 Pair of either leggings or jeans (I like black but that's me. Go with what you like.)

1 Robe, any length, go for one in either a texture like velvet or a fun color you like. (Now, I'm using the word robe intentionally. I don't want to be an asshole and say kimono because they aren't kimonos. However, if you're shopping for one kimono is a catch all word retailers use to describe these kinds of robes so you'll probably have to use it for search features.)

1 Maxi dress, again, any color but a loose black maxi is a great, easy base to build boho outfits around and works with everything.

1 Maxi or Midi skirt (one with some volume is good, you don't want a skin tight, body con skirt for this style although it's not written in stone.)

I Jacket, I went with a leather one but either that, a denim jacket or a fun printed one is perfect for boho.

1 long tank top or tee shirt, either tight or loose work here but you want it to hit the tops of your thighs.

1 Pair of tall boots, any color and flat or stacked heel works but a nice, western influenced boot works great.

1 Pair of either western style short boots or moto boots

1 Belt, either beaded, embellished or colorful!

1 Guazy Scarf

1 Fantastic necklace, big is best in either silver, gold tone of cloth but it need to make a visual impact.

1 Leather bag, saddle bag style is perfect for boho and they're big enough you can put everything in them.

1 Cloth bag, this really brings the boho flavor to an outfit and they're very cheap and easy to find. (also washable!)

Ok, starting with your base outfit, here's a plain white tunic with leggings. This is what you will build your boho outfit on. The great thing about this base is that you also ready have a little visual interest going on with the big tunic so you can either throw on a scarf and some sneakers if you're only dipping your toes into boho or you can really go full out with this base, depending on your personal comfort level.


 (orry, BooBoo wanted to boho as well but he rejected the scarf.)

Building upon the base outfit I added the tall brown boots, wrapped an beaded belt around my waist (thus highlighting the waist which is great if you're uncomfortable with too much volume at first) and added the brown saddle bag. This is a nice, simple look that could go right out the door. If you wanted to go to the next level style wise you can toss on the velvet robe which adds to the texture of the outfit and compliments the color store with the right browns and throw on a big necklace. You can also switch out the leather saddle bag for your cloth bag which adds even more visual interest to the outfit with some more texture and prints. Buy sticking with a cohesive color story (in this case white, browns, black and a bit of red from the necklace and bag) the whole look comes together and looks intentional rather that "I threw on all the stuff that was on the bedroom floor and hoped it worked." Mixing textures such as the velvet, the wood beading on the belt, the cloth and beading on the bag and then the shine of the necklace also helps with the visual interest of the of outfit - most outfits fail when there's no level of depth with texture. What not to Wear had it's problems but Stacy and Clinton's base advice of "shine, pattern and color" is solid advice which works for every outfit and style, even the goth ninjas.

As another note because I've seen short people say they can't do these proportions clothes wise - YES YOU CAN.  This is where the work comes and you have to play around depending on what you want. For shorter people, the belt trick I use is a visually heighten trick that creates a longer leg line and makes me look tallish in photo.  I'm no saying looking taller is desirable for everyone at all but if that's what you want, that's a great way to do it.
As a note for the other side of height, this is where shopping and paying attention to proportions also comes into play.  I know it's hard to find taller pants and having leggings can help - AE carries tall length jeans if you're having trouble finding those and I've heard rave reviews from my taller friends about them.

 The great thing about the base outfit of a tunic and leggings/pants is you only need a few accessories to completely change up the look! you don't need a huge closet to make boho work and the chances are with the trends that have happened over the past six year is that you probably already have these things in your closet. In the first outfit I switched out the velvet robe for a leather jacket - this works with the shorter proportion of the jacket to the tunic and adds to the texture of the outfit still with the shine of the leather. In the second look I swapped out the velvet robe for a woven cloth robe - the longer length of the robe with the tunic still works proportionally and you have the texture as well. With the third outfit I just removed the belt - this little more of an advanced boho outfit with all of the volume but because the robe fits in the shoulders it isn't overwhelming.

These outfits are just more variations on the base outfit. I swapped out the tall boots for the moto boots which give the whole outfit less of a prairie boho look and more of a rocker boho look aka Isabel Marant. Add the scarf and taking away the necklace keeps the visual interest going with textures, colors and patterns, even though the base outfit is simple. As you can see with three and four, they're also the same outfit aside from the boots- you can really see what a different vibe the boots bring to each look. I also swapped out the long white tunic for the black tank and it helps create a long line and another easy base outfit as a canvas to build on.

These outfits are more advanced boho looks but they show how you can play with proportions. Long silk robes look really cool and intentional with tall boots and a wide brimmed hat is a perfect boho accessory. In the next looks I belted the robe to play with proportions again and to show that the possibilities are endless with just a few accessories and layering pieces.

Alright, on to Base Outfit Two

Ok, switching to a new base outfit! This is the tee shirt and a midi skirt. You can go with a plain midi skirt as long as there's a little volume. This one is tulle with some beading so it adds to the visual interest of the outfit but having color, texture and some shine with the beads. This with the boots is a good outfit just on it's own but you can really take it up a notch with some accessories and layers. In the second outfit I added the cloth robe (texture mixing and color and pattern) the leather bag which looks cohesive with the boots but it's matchy matchy and the beaded belt adds visual interest. In the third look I added a flat brimmed hat and the necklace for a more advance boho look.

Again, you can play around with this base look of the midi skirt and tee shirt with just a jacket change (a denim jacket is perfect for adding color and texture) and changing out to the moto boots creates a less sweet vibe. You can always play around with belting your layering items - I'm short and I like how belting at my waist creates a "taller" proportion, even when I have a long layer over a longer layer as you can see in the third outfit.

Swapping out the white tunic for the black tee creates a whole new base outfit and one with tons of visual interest. You can wear the tunic long over the skirt with boots for a good hippy-dippy vibe, you can belt the tunic and wear a shorter jacket to pull in the volume and create more of a shape or you can tuck the tunic into the skirt and create more of a simple, everyday boho vibe. The possibilities are endless here and you can create so many different outfit just from if you tuck or don't tuck the tunic, how you belt it and what you layer on top.

Base Outfit Three


Alright, time for a change to the third base outfit- the black maxi. You can choose any shape you like, this is a case where a body con silhouette will work. I went with an A-line, tank top maxi but literally any black mix with work. This is just an easy base outfit and you can build it up to your own comfort level of extra-ness. I know a long robe with a maxi can feel like a lot of material and this is where fit really comes in - it must fit you in the shoulders with the shoulder seams lined up along your shoulders with both the maxi and any toppers. You can belt the maxi with an embellished belt to create a shape if you fell it is too much volume and a shorter jacket helps with that as well. You can go with a gauzy scarf for color and texture, a robe, a jacket and boots.

This below is the same base outfit but with a little more advanced boho look. You can wear the tunic over the dress, you can belt the tunic so many different way, you can add texture and volume with a shag jacket, you can go all out. A hallmark of advance boho is volume and at that point you just really piled everything out. But because you have a base outfit, it's easy to build up to your own comfot level. Most of these items were not inculded in the boho starter pack because I know not everyone is comfotable with a shag coat but I wanted to show how to build to that. The possiablities are endless at this point.  
The great thing about all of the items in the boho starter pack is you probably already have most of them or they can be found at any store at any price point. Target, Walmart, American Eagle and Old Navy have black maxi dresses in a large size range during the warm months and they're at a reasonable price and easy to wash! I've already mentioned the robes/kimono thing but they're an item that is in every store and are very easy to find on ebay for under $20. My favorite brand for those are Free People and Ecote, a brand found at Urban outfitters, Free people and Anthropologie but also on ebay for very cheap resell vaules. When it comes to boots, everyone is different with their feet but western style boots have been a serious trend for a while and boots like Frye tend to stay classic within certain groups much like Doc Martens are always popular with groups. I like Sam Edelmen and find the boots reasonable for the price, they too can be found around $25 for resell and tend to be on par or a little better with Steven Madden boots. Target also has amazing shoes that don't die!  You don't have to spend a ton for this style and that's part of the charm.


A quick note: This is not meant to be a catch all, just a quick quide to getting started. I put this together for a fall/spring boho look - for a summer look you can just switch out the boots for sandals and the leggings for shorts! Winter boho can mean totally different things depending on your climate and if you run hot/cold so I feel like that would be a post by itself. If I've forgetten something or have a great tip, please let me know!


  1. This was fantastic! Loved seeing so many comparison photos, especially on the ones with the exact same items where you just changed the styling. This has inspired me to keep my black maxi dress that I never wear around for some more outfit attempts next summer.

    1. Ah man, that's some serious praise coming from you, I always enjoy your inspiration breakdown posts so much! I bet you could put together some great outfits with that black maxi - they're not the most exciting option but a black maxi is such a great blank slate.

  2. I am so in love with your white tunic! Do you have any suggestions for where to find a similar one? Most of what I can find is v-neck or has a collar or some kind of tassel ties, but I love the wide open neckline yours has!

  3. Hi! My tunic is from Free people, it's a few years old and I'm not sure of what the product name was but they almost always have a similar style in stock on their website! This one on ebay is very similar

    Zara also has similar wide neck styles during the summer as does Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie! H&M is hit or miss but they sometimes have them during the summer as well. If not, searching "white gauze tunic, wide neck" on ebay brings up some decent options. I hope that helps!

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  6. I always like to wear stylish wholesale bohemian clothing, because I think it’s always cool and fashionable.


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